Advocates for survivors of sexual assault say even though one in six women will be raped in her lifetime, there isn’t enough support for them in Ohio.
Two Republican state lawmakers from northeast Ohio – Nan Baker of Westlake and Lynn Slaby of Copley– are sponsoring a bill to get more money for rape crisis centers. And they want the money to come from increased court costs and fees on criminals, including sex offenders. Megan O’Bryan is the head of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center and works with the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. She says calls come in from around the state because there aren’t enough places to help sexual assault victims
O’Bryan: “About one third of the calls answered by the Ohio alliance are from sexual assault survivors calling from an area with no rape crisis services at all. Less than half of Ohio’s 88 counties have any type of rape crises response and an entire quadrant of the state in the south east portion of the state has no rape crisis programming at all.”
The court fees would increase 60% for misdemeanor and felony convictions, and sex offenders would pay an extra 100 dollars toward the Ohio Rape Crisis Fund. It’s thought that this change could bring in 125-thousand dollars to start, and at least that much each year.